How would an increase in woodburning affect ambient air?

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How would an increase in woodburning affect ambient air?

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:43 pm

In Maine, ambient air was at a design level of about 33 mcg and 35 is allowed and this was from just oil. 98% burned oil. What if 20% went to old stoves? Any way to guess?

The DEP said they expected the ambient air to rise with the woodburning and cause violations. It did'nt though. They take steps to avoid hotspots and they know how to keep the readings low by putting monitors high and near bays and on mountains and all kinds of tricks. Is the woodsmoke so heavy from the adsorbed toxics that it does not rise into the ambient air? I am thinking of the ambient air as a bubble of sorts or haze over cities.
Ernest Grolimund
 
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Re: How would an increase in woodburning affect ambient air?

Postby Dorre » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:18 pm

Ernest Grolimund wrote:In Maine, ambient air was at a design level of about 33 mcg and 35 is allowed and this was from just oil. 98% burned oil. What if 20% went to old stoves? Any way to guess?

The DEP said they expected the ambient air to rise with the woodburning and cause violations. It did'nt though. They take steps to avoid hotspots and they know how to keep the readings low by putting monitors high and near bays and on mountains and all kinds of tricks. Is the woodsmoke so heavy from the adsorbed toxics that it does not rise into the ambient air? I am thinking of the ambient air as a bubble of sorts or haze over cities.

The NEPC PM2.5 issues paper states:
"In a UEPA Fact Sheet (dated 17 July 1997) on monitoring requirements for particulate matter, the design of monitoring networks was to include peak stations to be located in areas reflective of the highest measured values within each metropolitan area for comparison to the 24-hour standards. Hence the US PM2.5 standard of 65 ug/m3 (24 hr) is much more stringent than it first appears, possibly reflecting a PM2.5 standard (using performance monitoring networks with no peak stations) of approximately 30 ug/m3 (24 hr)."

Since then, the US PM2.5 standard has been reduced to 35 ug/m3, but surely the same principles apply - that the monitoring network should include peak stations. If they are not doing this, perhaps the location of their monitoring stations should be challenged?
Dorre
 
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EPA says get peak ambient air not peak hotspots.

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:49 pm

Hotspots are supposed to be handled individually and specific wording from the EPA says this. They are looking for a general average value. Pm monitors are located in cities because pm is generally at a peak value there, but they do not put a monitor below a coal plant or industry stack or paer mill. They handle that with portable monitors and visible smoke rules and the like. It should all be challenged and it is but slowly by ALA lawyers and environmental groups.
Ernest Grolimund
 
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Location: Maine

Challenges

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:22 pm

I complained of a pm monitor site on the ramp to a major bridge, up high, exposed to car winds, sea breezes. It was moved to a low location , in a park, hundreds of feet from anything, on the west side of a bay with a mile long or longer fetch for incoming prevailing winds over water. This site is probably picking up less pollution than the first i complained about. Complained about a pm station on top of an isolated mountain near Acadia Park. They kept it because it showed high ozone but added another site in a rural area, probably protected somehow. They know when a site is likely to show pollution and they seem to avoid them.
Ernest Grolimund
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:52 pm
Location: Maine

New conceptual estimates of pm

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:03 pm

In construction estimating, engineers use conceptual estimating to come up with quantities of materials. Instead of calculating every building feature , brick by brick, some estimate materials for typical housing types basd on square footage. In other words, they use their imaginations to do simplified estimates. Here are some new ideas of mine.

300 mcg/m3 of pm has been reported in New England woodburning communities. Assuming all the pm from residential woodburning and assuming it comes from old stoves and fireplaces in calm winds in blizzards say, then cert stoves in perfect working condition will generate about .10 of 300 mcg or 30 mcg/m3 of pm. Add 30 mcg/m3 of pm from other sources and it seems that if all houses switched to certified equipment then the worst case scenario would be 60 mcg/m3 in a blizzard say with calm winds. This is enough to kill, so cert stoves do not appear to be protective. The real problem is that pm from other sources like cars can get to 30 mcg/m3. It sounds OK because it is under ambient air standards but it can kill according to Dr, Schwartz. This means it violates constitutional rights!!! and constitutional rights have priority over ambient air standards to say nothing of the fact that woodsmoke is more toxic than ambient air with the same pm. That is because the toxic gases are synergistic with the pm causing 180 different forms of pollution. In a way, woodsmoke is 180 times more toxic because of the tremendous increases in the number of air toxics.

New England has blizzards all the time but the DEP is not planning for them. I am the only one to bring this up and I did it to a Governors advisor. It scared her and the Governor, so much that I was called in to talk right after a blizzard. Since I got called in I have written a lot. I get few if any replies but the few I get tell me that my letters are being read. Unfortuneately, one person alone in private does not get much done. There are 240 people in the legislature and they know nothing of science and vote on emotion, money, tradition and lobbying efforts. I have tried all kinds of appeals to the best and brightest and have gotten a little progress on getting the state to move a little towards gethermal heating powered by offshore widpower but this was not what I was shooting for. Given the ignorance of the otherwise very intelligent people, It would appear that letters to the editors or mass mailings to legislators are best. Some kind of mass appeal is neccesary. But they will not come to CAR or me. I have to learn how the system works and give out good legal, economic, and health arguments. After two years of studying CAR material and making my mistakes here in experiments, maybe I am ready to really go after the problem.

You can run the numbers on pellet boilers that are 4 times as polluting as oil furnaces. the pm is getting to be 30 mcg, at peak hours. 20% of that is 6 mcg. If everyone switched to pellet boilers with forced air, then the pm would be 4 times 6 mcg or 24 mcg and adding 24 more mcg from ambient air, you would get 48 mcg. Very bad. Let's say that 10 % convert which is the goal. Then pm would be 24 plus .6 times four plus 5 or about 32 mcg of pm 2.5 this does not sound too bad until you realize that that the pm standard is likey to change to 25 mcg or even 18 mcg according to NESCAUM. Then you will be increasing pm during a time that you jahve to ou have to decrease it radically. Not good. If the standardsa are changed then we will have to decresae all woodburning and maybe even oilburning with insulation or some other means. So, I am saying no to old equipment to start out and more and more pointing out the absurdity of any woodburning in light of the changes in standards coming and lack of pollution control right now. But the DEP is still talking about changeouts. The fight goes on but the talk of std's being possibly cut in half gives hope.
Ernest Grolimund
 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:52 pm
Location: Maine


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